HC Deb 28 November 1984 vol 68 c915
4. Mr. Proctor

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will give the number of new town homes sold under the right-to-buy provisions by the Basildon development corporation and other new town development corporations; and if he will make a statement.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment (Sir George Young)

Between May 1979 and September 1984 Basildon development corporation has sold 3,903 dwellings to sitting tenants, and other English new town development corporations have sold 11,315.

Mr. Proctor

Does my hon. Friend accept that that is a source of great pride to those who live in the Basildon area? Will he encourage and facilitate shared ownership provisions for tenants who are prevented from buying their homes, especially newer houses, because the cost floor rules mean that the sale price is near to the market price and, therefore, they cannot obtain the full discount?

Sir George Young

Basildon is rightly proud of its record. It has sold more houses to sitting tenants than any other of the new town corporations.

Under the Housing Act 1984 tenants have a right to shared ownership in the circumstances which my hon. Friend described.

Mr. Cowans

Will the Minister tell the whole truth? Will he publish the cost to the taxpayer of those houses and the cost at which they were sold? Is it not true that there is a big discrepancy between the two figures?

Sir George Young

No, there is not. It is not possible to sell a house under the right-to-buy provisions at less than its cost. This is the cost floor, to which my hon. Friend the Member for Billericay (Mr. Proctor) rightly referred. I am afraid that the hon. Gentleman is totally misinformed.

Dr. Mawhinney

Will my hon. Friend accept the appreciation of thousands of my constituents in Peterborough who are now able to own their homes, thanks to that legislation? Will he also accept that the exemplary selling commitment of the Peterborough development corporation helped to shame the Labour-controlled district council into selling houses as well?

Sir George Young

Although Basildon has sold more houses to sitting tenants, I am happy to tell my hon. Friend that, looked at in percentage terms, Peterborough has done even better. I am sure that it will have acted as an inspiration to the local authority, which I hope will respond with greater efforts to dispose of more of its homes.